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Crosslake decides St. Patrick's Day parade will go on amid coronavirus concerns

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People having fun along the parade route in Crosslake at a previous St. Patrick's Day parade. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal file photo


The Crosslake St. Patrick's Day Parade & Celebration, one of the largest parades celebrating the holiday in the state, will continue as scheduled Saturday, March 14.

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NEWS UPDATE:

The 46th annual Crosslake St. Patrick's Day Parade scheduled for Saturday, March 14, has been canceled.

The Crosslake City Council met in an emergency session Friday morning, March 13, and unanimously voted to cancel the parade amid COVID-19 concerns.

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The Crosslake City Council hosted a special meeting Thursday morning, March 12, in reaction to growing concern over the spread of COVID-19 and how it might affect the parade.

Police Chief Erik Lee and Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller shared input via teleconference. Neither made a recommendation on whether the council should cancel the parade. Instead, they presented their findings from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lee recognized much of the crowd for the parade would be interacting indoors afterward. Lohmiller agreed with Lee, both in deferring to the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC, but without making a direct recommendation.

"Based on that, with this pandemic that's going on, we're going to have to get used to it and we're going to have to get educated by it and we're going to have choices to make whether we want to partake or not," Mayor Dave Nevin said. "I don't think closing the parade down right now is going to extend our lives by 10 years or anything. ... We gotta be smart. We gotta wash hands. We gotta cover our mouth. We got to do what they're telling us to do, but we also gotta keep living."

"We are talking about working with an outdoor event, not indoors," said council member Aaron Herzog. "I'm not as concerned about the parade itself as I am with what's going to go on indoors in your facilities, and that's where the infections and stuff potentially, if any, is going to happen. I'm struggling with shutting it down this close to the event. I'm having a problem with that."

Council member Dave Schrupp agreed with Nevin and pointed out Crow Wing County currently has no diagnosed cases. Schrupp suggested it will be up to individuals to make their own decisions and come to their own opinions.

The council unanimously agreed to proceed with the event as scheduled. Many in the audience responded to the decision with applause.

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As of Thursday afternoon, independent organizers chose to cancel some coinciding events in Crosslake, including the Clover Dash 5K and the Crosslake Fire Department’s Pancake Breakfast.

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Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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